Objective: Previous studies showed an inconsistent association of fruit and vegetable consumption with bone health. We assessed the associations in Chinese adolescents, young and postmenopausal women.
Design: A cross-sectional study conducted in China during July 2009 to May 2010.
Setting: Bone mineral density (BMD) and content (BMC) at the whole body, lumbar spine and left hip were measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Dietary intakes were assessed using an FFQ. All these values were separately standardized into Z-scores in each population subgroup.
Subjects: One hundred and ten boys and 112 girls (11-14 years), 371 young women (20-34 years, postpartum within 2 weeks) and 333 postmenopausal women (50-70 years).
Results: After adjustment for potential covariates, analysis of covariance showed a significantly positive association between fruit intake and BMD and BMC in all participants combined (P-trend: < 0.001 to 0.002). BMD Z-score increased by 0.25 (or 2.1 % of the mean), 0.22 (3.5 %), 0.23 (3.0 %) and 0.25 (3.5 %), and BMC Z-score increased by 0.33 (5.7 %), 0.25 (5.8 %), 0.34 (5.9 %) and 0.29 (4.7 %), at the total body, lumbar spine, total hip and femoral neck in participants belonging to the top tertile compared with the bottom tertile of fruit intake (all P < 0.05), respectively. There was no significant association between vegetable intake and bone mass at all bone sites studied except for total body BMD (P = 0.030). Relatively more pronounced effects were observed in boys and postmenopausal women.
Conclusion: Our findings add to the existing evidence that fruits and vegetables may have a bone sparing effect.